ATLANTA -- Reds closer Aroldis Chapman had a successful second live batting practice of pitching to Reds hitters on Saturday, namely because he did it without using a screen. But Chapman would like one more session of live BP before going out on a rehab assignment to improve his physical stamina.
"I would be able to go to the Minor Leagues right now, but to be honest, I need at least one more simulated game," Chapman said via translator Tomas Vera. "I think that's what we're going to do -- throw another simulated game before I decide to go somewhere else."
Chapman is tentatively scheduled for another live BP on Tuesday at Great American Ball Park.
"The first thing is I want to keep facing hitters here on the team," Chapman said. "Our hitters are better for me to face than some of the other ones. The other thing is I feel like a couple of more days working on my physical condition and being in shape will help me. I want to be in the shape that I know I can be."
On Saturday, Chapman threw 43 pitches to teammates Tucker Barnhart, Neftali Soto and Ramon Santiago. To simulate a game situation, he pitched a 20-pitch first inning, rested for about five minutes and threw another 23 pitches. Only a couple of his pitches were hit out of the infield.
"He looked really good, woo. Really, really good," Barnhart said.
It was a significant day, according to manager Bryan Price, because Chapman worked without a screen for the first time after using one on Wednesday in Pittsburgh. He appears to have fully recovered, physically and mentally, from being struck in the face by a line drive on March 19, which left him with fractures above the left eye and nose that needed to be repaired surgically.
"I think it was a big step today to throw without a protective screen for the first time since the incident happened in Surprise," Price said. "If one more outing makes him feel physically and mentally more prepared to face hitters in a game situation, that's great.
"I also feel these simulated games we're throwing are as valuable in his preparation to be activated, even if he'll be pitching in Cincinnati in a simulated game on Tuesday. That's one more day of rehab we knocked off had he been in Louisville, Dayton or Pensacola. I think he's shaving days off of his rehab every time he goes out there and throws."
Price was confident that Chapman wouldn't need a long rehab assignment once he is ready. Unlike relievers Sean Marshall and Jonathan Broxton, who recently returned from disabled-list stints, Chapman did not have an arm injury and has been able to maintain a throwing program.
"He got stretched out in Spring Training, he got to three innings. His arm is in great shape, we're still working a little on stamina after the time off," Price said. "I hate to put a number on it, because that'd be reckless, but I don't think that once we send him out, it'll be much more than a week, I wouldn't guess."
Chapman has no concerns about being re-injured by another ball hit back towards the mound.
"I feel normal. I feel about the same. Actually, I'm really positive," Chapman said. "Since everything that happened to me, I've been really positive. I've never had a bad thought about if things can happen again or if I can have any trauma on my head again. They wanted to put [the screen] on the first time and we used it the first time just because it was the first time. I always felt that everything is going to be OK. I don't think it's possible it will happen again. I'm positive, mentally, that this will be OK. My mind is back to being able to do things without thinking about this."